Back at the wheel, James Pull fought to scale the podium in each of the three races at Brands Hatch this weekend. In a feat of consistency and dedication, the young British driver moved back up to 2nd in the highly-competitive British F3 championship standings.
Setting the timing screens alight in qualifying, James set the pace to beat early on in the Saturday afternoon session. As the laps ran on, Pull engaged in an all-out challenge for pole against teammate Ahmed, as the Carlin pair traded places on each lap of the GP circuit. With rain threatening in the dying minutes, James qualified second, just a tenth shy of pole position, locking out the front row for the Carlin outfit.
With stormy skies overhead the visors went down for Race One. Relishing the changing conditions, Pull looked forward to challenging for the victory. With Hingeley having the advantage off the line, James was forced to yield his position into the first corner, before unleashing one of the best overtaking moves of the season.
Making a brilliant run up Hawthorn Hill he edged alongside his rival, tantalisingly close to the grass and the wheels of the Fortec car. Squeezing through on the outside at Hawthorn Bend in the run down to Westfield, he retook 2nd position in a superb showing of skill and precision. With the rain beginning to fall, conditions well suited to the Singapore born driver, James mastered the dampened track and quickly closed the gap to Ahmed.
Racing right on his gearbox as conditions worsened, the Brit lined up to challenge his teammate for the lead, but his efforts were cut short as the safety car was called to spare a collection of stricken cars at Paddock Hill. With a deluge of rain falling onto the track, the appearance of the red flag and a decision not to restart the race with 4 minutes left, James had to settle for 2nd.
Lining up 7th on the partially reversed grid for Race Two, a lightning start saw James move up to 4th by turn two on the first lap. Nestling himself firmly in the fight as the pack circulated the 2.4-mile circuit the relentless racer soon made an audacious move around the outside of Wahome at Paddock Hill Bend in a bid for third. Running wide, he narrowly avoided the gravel at Paddock, which gifted Hingeley his 4th place. Undeterred by his brief encounter with the gravel, James pushed on in the close battle for the final podium places.
With Hingeley and Wahome tangling, James took the opportunity to move past both of them at Druids. With a real chance to sweep into second, the 17-year-old made great strides, cutting the gap to Mahadik down to a mere 0.2s on the final lap but, unable to squeeze past, he crossed the line in third. This was later upgraded to 2nd place following a post-race disqualification for winner Sowery.
With fastest laps from the two previous races setting the grid for Race 3, Pull started from fifth, but in yet another thrilling opening lap he wasted no time in climbing to third. Placed well in podium contention, James gave the fight to challenge teammate Das for 2nd place, throughout the 14 lap foray. With threat from O’Keeffe behind, the Carlin driver carved superb lines to extend the gap and hold his position as the chequered flag fell. Visiting the podium for the third time in three races, James joined his teammates for a Carlin podium lock-out, rounding off another competitive and consistent performance for the championship contender.
Speaking of his achievements: “It’s been a positive weekend really; three podiums is very good. It’s a shame it seems that each weekend I don’t quite manage to get that win, but I think one more corner this weekend in race one and I would have done it! Nevertheless, it has been a very big points haul for us and I’ve moved back into second in the Championship which is great after the problems we had at Spa. The next two rounds are going to be really exciting — the car was strong once again and we know we have good pace at Snetterton and Donington, so I’m looking forward to the end of the season”
The penultimate round of the BRDC British F3 Championship speeds into action at Snetterton on 26th-27th August, where with 12 podiums already in the bag, James Pull looks to continue his strong title challenge.
1 Enaam AHMED
2 James PULL
3 Toby SOWERY
4 Callan O’KEEFE
5 Jordan CANE
1 K. MAHADIK
2 James PULL
3 Enaam AHMED
4 Omar ISMAIL
5 Jamie CHADWICK
1 Enaam AHMED
2 Cameron DAS
3 James PULL
4 Callan O’KEEFE
5 Ben HINGELEY